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The Shadow Over Innsmouth And Other Stories Of Horror

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"The Shadow Over Innsmouth" is a short novel about a weird hybrid race of humans and creatures resembling a cross between a fish and a frog, which lives in the seaside village of Innsmouth.


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"The Shadow Over Innsmouth" is a short novel about a weird hybrid race of humans and creatures resembling a cross between a fish and a frog, which lives in the seaside village of Innsmouth.

30 review for The Shadow Over Innsmouth And Other Stories Of Horror

  1. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: 3* of five Wow, what a ride. There's a great story in there, but it keeps sinking under Lovecraft's prolixity. Pages and pages of street names and descriptions of lighting conditions and geometric shapes so vague as to be useless stacked against much more concrete and, in fact, borderline overdone evocations of people and artifacts. The underpinnings of the story are, though, really solid. The main character is a surprise. I can't in good conscience tell you why. He is, though, and the sur Rating: 3* of five Wow, what a ride. There's a great story in there, but it keeps sinking under Lovecraft's prolixity. Pages and pages of street names and descriptions of lighting conditions and geometric shapes so vague as to be useless stacked against much more concrete and, in fact, borderline overdone evocations of people and artifacts. The underpinnings of the story are, though, really solid. The main character is a surprise. I can't in good conscience tell you why. He is, though, and the surprise he provides is genuinely worth making the trip. Though I strongly suggest that you start skimming as the narrator checks into the Gilman House. The Mythos has many detractors in today's world, though in my view they're quite wrong-headed to howl about Lovecraft's personal squickiness. Whatever his attitudes towards other ethnic groups and towards women, his writing can fairly be criticized (dialect spelling: DON'T!) and fault can be found without going there. The purpose of attacking him as a reprehensible human being seems to be to discourage modern storytellers from delving into the fantabulously rich tapestry of the Lovecraft Mythos with its Deep Ones and Elder Gods and its other races (like Neanderthal not like African American) of human beings. What a titanic waste of great stuff that is. And writers of quality, Ruthanna Emrys and Victor LaValle and Matt Ruff among them, are doing what I think is the most sensible and most effective countermeasure of them all in repurposing the Mythos to comment on modern conditions and events. There is a flourishing subgenre of weird fiction that engages with racism, that defies demonization of the other, by reaching into the Mythos for "real" other races (I mean, people, we're all the same race here!) and "actual" demons to bear or supply persecution while pointing up, by the very choice of victim or victimizer, how much hate we spew on auto-pilot. Choosing Innsmouth's Deep Ones allows Emrys, in Winter Tide, to make a pointed comment on the Japanese internment camps of World War II without needing to beat it up again...the US Government had the camps in place for the Innsmouth people they rounded up after the events in this novella! Nice work, Ms. Emrys, deepen the Mythos and broaden the social commentary in one stroke. I'd say the modern sensibilities trodden upon by Lovecraft himself would do best to emulate Emrys and use his own worlds against him.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    This collection has three particularly fine H. P. Lovecraft tales - The Colour Out of Space, The Festival, and The Shadow over Innsmouth. These three stories alone are worth the price of admission, and I believe showcase Lovecraft at his finest, and are also good examples of why no one can utilize the Mythos like its creator. The other stories are much weaker, with the science fiction collaboration with fan Kenneth Sterling, is particularly weak, and overlong. The three best stories, are however This collection has three particularly fine H. P. Lovecraft tales - The Colour Out of Space, The Festival, and The Shadow over Innsmouth. These three stories alone are worth the price of admission, and I believe showcase Lovecraft at his finest, and are also good examples of why no one can utilize the Mythos like its creator. The other stories are much weaker, with the science fiction collaboration with fan Kenneth Sterling, is particularly weak, and overlong. The three best stories, are however, magnificent and must reads if you are interested in Lovecraft.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    This is a very creepy story that has you wondering how he can escape the awfulness of it all. The main character finds out the strange people of Innsmouth are not that different from him after a harrowing night being stuck in the town. I hoped he would escape but there's no real escape for him because of his genetics.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joe Sander

    *The edition I read contained more stories than the ones listed here* Lovecraft is hard to rate for me. Even today he remains ridiculously influential, but so much of his work is formulaic and cliché (not to mention racist/classist). He had fantastic ideas but really wasn't a technically solid writer so his stories can be difficult for modern readers. His best work (things like The Color Out of Space, The Dreams in the Witch House, The Outsider) is practically required reading for horror fans whi *The edition I read contained more stories than the ones listed here* Lovecraft is hard to rate for me. Even today he remains ridiculously influential, but so much of his work is formulaic and cliché (not to mention racist/classist). He had fantastic ideas but really wasn't a technically solid writer so his stories can be difficult for modern readers. His best work (things like The Color Out of Space, The Dreams in the Witch House, The Outsider) is practically required reading for horror fans while much of his lesser fiction (The Transition of Juan Romero, Man of Stone) is basically a waste of your time. Still, Lovecraft knew how to scare people and that is really the nicest thing you can say about an author in this genre. His characters lived in a world filled with horrors both unknowable and wrong. A happy ending was not guaranteed, nor was it likely. A bad horror movie will cheat and “scare you in your ears” with the loud noise of something going bump in the night. Lovecraft attempts to scare you in your spine, the place where your body processes primal fear. He doesn't always succeed but when he does the results are impressive.

  5. 4 out of 5

    David Stoneking

    I didn't have the whole book. Just the Shadow Over Innsmouth public domain story. This book is classic, highly recommended reading. It's the story of a traveler heading to the fictional New England town of Arkham to do some genealogical research. On his way, he finds a detour heading through Innsmouth that should speed up the trip. But the townspeople don't seem to care much for Innsmouth. It becomes a topic of morbid curiosity for the traveler, as he slowly finds more information, and decides to I didn't have the whole book. Just the Shadow Over Innsmouth public domain story. This book is classic, highly recommended reading. It's the story of a traveler heading to the fictional New England town of Arkham to do some genealogical research. On his way, he finds a detour heading through Innsmouth that should speed up the trip. But the townspeople don't seem to care much for Innsmouth. It becomes a topic of morbid curiosity for the traveler, as he slowly finds more information, and decides to visit the town. In what he hopes to be a quick stay he finds malevolent forces at work within. The writing itself starts slow, and I found myself more interested in the plot than the actual words used to describe it. Certain conversations were difficult to decipher as Lovecraft tended to write spoken words as they are pronounced instead of how they're spelled. But the pace in which plot points were discovered, and the way the plot escalated in excitement was very well done. This was one of the best written books I've read involving an investigatory plot line.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dane Lamont

    Glad I got around to it I wanted to get into Lovecraft, and this story was a great intro. Perfect way to learn the major themes and motifs of the greater works.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Steve Wiggins

    This book was my first introduction to H. P. Lovecraft. If I recall correctly, I initially read only two of the stories, the titular "Shadow over Innsmouth" and the first offering, "The Colour out of Space." I then moved to the annotated collections published by Penguin. I pulled this collection off the shelf after reading a biography of Lovecraft, and read through the whole thing. The reason I don't give it a higher rating is not for dislike of Lovecraft, but because of the oddity of the stories This book was my first introduction to H. P. Lovecraft. If I recall correctly, I initially read only two of the stories, the titular "Shadow over Innsmouth" and the first offering, "The Colour out of Space." I then moved to the annotated collections published by Penguin. I pulled this collection off the shelf after reading a biography of Lovecraft, and read through the whole thing. The reason I don't give it a higher rating is not for dislike of Lovecraft, but because of the oddity of the stories in the collection. Many of his classics aren't here. Perhaps the idea was to give a sampling, but in truth, Lovecraft didn't have great literary range. He was good at a particular type of story and those that move beyond this zone suffer. For example, his ghostwritten Houdini tale, "Imprisoned with the Pharaohs," isn't one of his best. It is, in the end, a little hokey. "In the Walls of Eryx," likewise, shows that science fiction wasn't Lovecraft's strong suit. Those who collect other writers' stories into gathered volumes have their own logic for including what they do. This collection appeared before Lovecraft reached the level of stardom and fandom that he currently enjoys. There are many other collections from which to choose. Still, this was my introduction to Lovecraft. I like this little book because of that. Nostalgia has a way of doing that to a person. For those interested I say a little more about it here: Sects and Violence in the Ancient World.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alex Klimkewicz

    "Color Out of Space" -- great shimmering horror sucks life out of land and man. Vaguely analogous to Bierce story "The Damned Thing?" "The Outsider" -- Josh & Clark (Stuff You Should Know) read this tale of unearthed, indescribable horrorific thing discovering itself. "Imprisoned with the Pharaohs" -- marching mummies, walking horrors, and hippo-paw-tentacle Unknown God lurk under the Egyptian Sphinx in this tale narrated by Harry Houdini. "The Transition of Juan Romero" -- early Lovecraft tell "Color Out of Space" -- great shimmering horror sucks life out of land and man. Vaguely analogous to Bierce story "The Damned Thing?" "The Outsider" -- Josh & Clark (Stuff You Should Know) read this tale of unearthed, indescribable horrorific thing discovering itself. "Imprisoned with the Pharaohs" -- marching mummies, walking horrors, and hippo-paw-tentacle Unknown God lurk under the Egyptian Sphinx in this tale narrated by Harry Houdini. "The Transition of Juan Romero" -- early Lovecraft tells more, shows less, in this story about a Mexican Aztec seized by a great cavern beast. "In the Walls of Eryx" -- reprehensible space man whose grand plan is to kill all the Vesuvian creatures is thwarted by a clear labyrinth and consumed by ever-encroaching death. "The Festival" -- mental illness? or just another cavalcade of creepy creatures? Once again our author/narrator may have a familial connection to the dark void. "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" -- A visitor discovers something fishy going on in Innsmouth. Shambling horror parade motif similar to "Pharaohs" & the terrible blood relations akin to "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family." Dagon is a guilty pleasure Lovecraft film (atrocious though) based on this story. A nice collection.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Squeek

    My first foray into H.P. Lovecraft, something I had been meaning to do for a good while now. Regarding my thoughts, well at times it was a bit of a slog, I'll admit. I find the writing style is at times too weighed down with descriptions of the scenery and surrounding locations that instead of setting the mood, it becomes too distracting and can be downright boring. However, as I had hoped, I do quite love the ideas and the sinister mysteries at the heart of the stories. So even if I am left a li My first foray into H.P. Lovecraft, something I had been meaning to do for a good while now. Regarding my thoughts, well at times it was a bit of a slog, I'll admit. I find the writing style is at times too weighed down with descriptions of the scenery and surrounding locations that instead of setting the mood, it becomes too distracting and can be downright boring. However, as I had hoped, I do quite love the ideas and the sinister mysteries at the heart of the stories. So even if I am left a little disappointed with the implementation and narratives, I still enjoyed a glimpse into the mythos that has inspired so much over the years. Quick thoughts on the tales included in this volume; The Shadow Over Innsmouth - Enjoyable, good exposition, delightful twist in the ending, but goodness would I have liked it to have been pared down a little. Just get to the meat of it already! The Festival - Not a fan. The story didn't seem to have much of a point. It's supposed to be an Xmas tale, but falls short of much. The Color Out of Space - Actually the first short story of the group (despite what the back of the book relates and how I am listing these little reviews) and certainly my favourite out of the batch. Imprisoned with the Pharaohs - This was difficult to get through. There was just too much time spent on detailing the environment that the pay-off was less than satisfactory, albeit there was a glimpse of something terrifying and awesome near the end that I appreciated. In the Walls of Eryx - The Sci-fi treat of the novel. I really enjoyed this story. The transition of the main character, the inventive (and terrifying trap), and the resolution of the tale were all great. Second favourite story of the book. The Transition of Juan Romero - I... wow, can't really remember this one. I think it was one of the better stories, but very short and seems lacking in lasting impressions. The Outsider - Starts off quite intriguing and interesting, but ends with a bunch of names thrown out that make me feel like there is another story I should have read to gain better understanding. Not a bad tale though, still enjoyable.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Hebert

    For all the psychological unraveling going on, this is physical horror of a very viscous texture :D Things get sticky in the worlds of Lovecraft, and the reader feels the unsightly cling when they try to peel their hand away from it. It's true these tales tend to follow a kind of recipe in their telling, but I don't mind it. The man loves his language and relishes in harrowing description, to the point of it being almost humorous as ever new adjectives flood the page! And even if all the stories For all the psychological unraveling going on, this is physical horror of a very viscous texture :D Things get sticky in the worlds of Lovecraft, and the reader feels the unsightly cling when they try to peel their hand away from it. It's true these tales tend to follow a kind of recipe in their telling, but I don't mind it. The man loves his language and relishes in harrowing description, to the point of it being almost humorous as ever new adjectives flood the page! And even if all the stories generally blend into one curdling narrative about humanity's utter insignificance and fragility aside the monstrous holes of our planet and what they contain ... bah, there's madness in them thar hills! You know, after a little more time thinking about it, I'm glad for the descriptive edge writers like Lovecraft use in horror. Nowadays it seems the *activities* of horror take precedence -- the furtive shadows glancing by in the background, the chases, the mutilations, the panic-stricken eyes of victims. Lovecraft and his kind take the time-out needed to describe an environment to its fullest, layering the stage with all kinds of malignant detail before tripping the wire and letting the physical aspects roll along their fated course. At the end of it, the action is rewarded for happening within this more *grounded* environment, the colors and sounds all the more pronounced and the activities all the more menacing.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bogdan Gavriliuc

    I was debating between 3 stars and 2, I decided on 3 because it did keep me interested and reading in order to find out what the end of each story was. the reason I was going to go with 2 is the following. I wasn't left scared, rather more curious. Also his story telling, especially in 7 in a row, demonstrates a formulaic approach (with slight exceptions). Main character narrates his experience. Introduction into unfamiliar fictional setting. Old tale given from either folklore or an old insane f I was debating between 3 stars and 2, I decided on 3 because it did keep me interested and reading in order to find out what the end of each story was. the reason I was going to go with 2 is the following. I wasn't left scared, rather more curious. Also his story telling, especially in 7 in a row, demonstrates a formulaic approach (with slight exceptions). Main character narrates his experience. Introduction into unfamiliar fictional setting. Old tale given from either folklore or an old insane figure. Sudden change of pace. Use of descriptions such as "there are no words that can describe the horror that stood before me" (or other such parallels). Conclusion. It can get predictable, and especially the "indescribable" description starts to grate on me. But I can fully understand the use though;a good horror let's you imagine your own fears. One often fears the unknown more than a vivid description. The shorts that stuck out in my mind were "Imprisoned with the pharaohs" and "In the walls of Eryx"

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mikey

    If you've read Lovecraft's best short stories ("The Call of Cthulhu," "The Thing on the Doorstep," "Pickman's Model," etc.) and you still aren't convinced that he was the best post-Poe American horror writer, then read this, his best novella. As always with Lovecraft, the book's horrifying impact doesn't come from the depiction of bizarre and unsettling things in the main action of the story (though that's there), but from the psychological implications of forbidden knowledge and the sense that If you've read Lovecraft's best short stories ("The Call of Cthulhu," "The Thing on the Doorstep," "Pickman's Model," etc.) and you still aren't convinced that he was the best post-Poe American horror writer, then read this, his best novella. As always with Lovecraft, the book's horrifying impact doesn't come from the depiction of bizarre and unsettling things in the main action of the story (though that's there), but from the psychological implications of forbidden knowledge and the sense that one cannot escape one's fate. I hesitate to provide any kind of summary for The Shadow Over Innsmouth, because Lovecraft's work is always best appreciated if you have no knowledge of the story going in. Read this at its own terrifying, surreal pace, but not before bedtime.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brent

    This is the second short story I've read by HP Lovecraft. I enjoyed this title more than "The Call of Cthulu" and found the twist to be intriguing although poorly foreshadowed. This seemed less disjointed than some of his other works but I still find the intrigue and suspense to be poorly lacking. Lovecraft excels, it seems, in being overly descriptive and boring at times. I'm giving his entire collection a chance and hope to find that my opinion will begin to change as I come to terms with his This is the second short story I've read by HP Lovecraft. I enjoyed this title more than "The Call of Cthulu" and found the twist to be intriguing although poorly foreshadowed. This seemed less disjointed than some of his other works but I still find the intrigue and suspense to be poorly lacking. Lovecraft excels, it seems, in being overly descriptive and boring at times. I'm giving his entire collection a chance and hope to find that my opinion will begin to change as I come to terms with his literary style. I am fascinated by the Cthulu mythos and by Lovecraft himself so it saddens me that I have been somewhat underwhelmed by his writing.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dave Holcomb

    A decent selection of standard Lovecraft, including two classics, "The Shadow of Innsmouth" and "The Lurking Fear". It has become popular to criticize "pulp" authors like Lovecraft for the way in which their work often reflects the racist and xenophobic attitudes that prevailed during their lifetimes, but as long as the reader is willing to allow the writer to be a child of his times without imputing more overtly aggressive motives to his failings, the stories still hold up well, much the way Po A decent selection of standard Lovecraft, including two classics, "The Shadow of Innsmouth" and "The Lurking Fear". It has become popular to criticize "pulp" authors like Lovecraft for the way in which their work often reflects the racist and xenophobic attitudes that prevailed during their lifetimes, but as long as the reader is willing to allow the writer to be a child of his times without imputing more overtly aggressive motives to his failings, the stories still hold up well, much the way Poe or Arthur Conan Doyle do.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    This particular edition of stories by H.P. Lovecraft was my first exposure to this master of horror. Most of his stories are what I'd call psychological horror stories, taking human being's worst fears and telling tales of how we face them. Another theme of his writing are those stories revolving around The Necronomicon and the ancient evils that accompany it. These are straight up horror stories and very satisfying if you like creepy stories rather than gory stories.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bayard

    Lovecraft may not have possessed the literary genius of American weird fiction writer A.E. Poe, but his work has been hugely influential in modern culture. In just about every form of media from film to video games we find echoes of Lovecraft's Old Ones and weird cosmology. His later tales, particularly The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, The Call of Cthulu, The Shadow Over Innsmouth and At the Mountains of Madness are his finest and should satisfy just about anyone's imp of the perverse.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

    I bought a book from Mestas Editions that included this story as well as Dagon and The Colour Out of Space, and I liked this one better than the others. Despite the reading is a bit longer I felt the narration flowing and vibrating on every page. One curious thing I have to point out is, as well as the narrator on this tale, I was also on a trip to a small town myself during this reading. And I finished it almosta at the very last minute before taking the bus back home.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Nunez

    I listend to this on audio. First getting past the accent (British), was amazed at the author's discrpitive manner in writing. I can't figure out if I loved it or liked it. The discription of the creatures, left me wanting to hear more. My vision actually somewhat matched the short video of the book from You Tube. Loved the twist at the end.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    This is one of my all time favorites by Lovecraft. This was the first story that led me to his Dagon mythology and I think it is one of his most creepy and well done. Lovecraft has a great way of sucking his reader in with his incredibly involved backstories and he just builds and builds on the mythos he crafted with a god-like detail.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Raj

    This is a collection of short stories by Lovecraft ending with the titular novella. The stories are interesting but they have, however, lost their terror over the years as they have been copied and parodied. I very much enjoyed the collection though, especially The Colour out of Space and the titular The Shadow over Innsmouth.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maeve

    I read this at about age 10 or 11; it's a very old book and was old when I read the torn covered copy my parents had. I loved it! Still like the writing, which was creepy and archaic without being graphic or gory. Lovecraft's ability to evoke a scene and a character was truly breathtaking. What a good writer he was. Don't care if it was "light" fiction, it was a great read. Try it out.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rachael

    I have only just begin to read HP Lovecraft, but Shadow Over Innsmouth has to be my favorite short story so far. Lovecraft can be a little dry and wordy for people at times, and much like Anne Rice, it can take several pages to describe a doorknob, but the suspenseful feeling and the images he creates in this story are amazing.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Noah

    This is definitely one of the better paced Lovecraft stories. He does not get so caught up in the description of things, but rather focuses more on the events and character's emotions. The tension was slowly raised and came to a thrilling climax and then ended with an interesting twist. I flew through it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Borax

    This is absolutely the best of Lovecraft's stories! It is very much in keeping with his style, though I understand he actually drafted 6 versions of this in an attempt to change his style....this is because Mountains of Madness was a failure in publishing...Lovecraft was stung by that....though the story we read today is classic Lovecraft, he actually hated it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jonatron

    Actually, what I have is called "The Weird Shadow Over Innsmouth", and is just an e-book on my phone, which I read while at the laundromat. While entertaining, I don't actually feel very terrified while reading these stories. Sorry, dude.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    If a horror story makes me too scared to get out of bed when I am about to pee myself in the middle of the night, then it's worth reading. H.P. Lovecraft writes those stories. Have yet to be disappointed by anything with his name on it, loved this collection.

  27. 5 out of 5

    James Hardison

    I got this book from the Scholastic Book Club in 1971. It was my introduction to Lovecraft and I've been a devoted fan ever since. This book opened the door to a whole world of weird fiction that has kept me entertained for decades.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    I started reading Rick Dakan's Cthulhu Cult - a novel of Lovecraftian obsession. Since I'd not read any Lovecraft since the 1970s, and I had this story on my Kindle, I decided to read it alongside the Dakan book. Glad I did. HPL really conjures up the atmosphere.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Charles

    Notable for having HPL's only real SF story, "The Colour out of Space." It's quite good.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Clint

    The densest darkest dude.

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